May I transfer an XP Genuine Advantage Kit install?
September 8, 2008 7:13 PM   Subscribe

A Dell PC was originally equipped with Windows ME. Somebody later installed, instead, an unauthorized copy of XP. The machine was given to me, and I legitimated the XP install by paying Microsoft for a "Genuine Advantage Kit." Will Microsoft let me use that kit's CD to install XP on a different machine (perhaps an Apple) if I get rid of the first machine? Thanks.
posted by Dave 9 to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
My understanding is that "Genuine Advantage" creates a signature representing the hardware configuration, which among other things includes the ethernet MAC from the mother board. That signature is uploaded to Microsoft and kept in a database.

That happens every time you download patches or try to validate a clean install, and it will only permit a certain amount of hardware variation from the very first hardware configuration you ever uploaded before it rejects you and refuses to run.

In that case you have to call Microsoft on the phone and beg them to unlock the validation code so that it'll install anyway. Maybe they'll do it, maybe they won't.
posted by Class Goat at 9:32 PM on September 8, 2008

It depends on your licensing. It's probably OEM-style, meaning you probably have to buy a new copy for a new computer. You can sometimes transfer an OEM license to a new motherboard if you manually call in and tell them that your old motherboard broke and this is a replacement. But it's quite unlikely that they'll let you transfer to an Apple or other fully-prebuilt machine.

One way to try it would be by installing it and seeing if it will activate. But be warned: if you're on a Mac, and you activate in Boot Camp, that activation probably won't work in VMWare without calling in, and they may refuse to activate it a third time.

You should also be aware that it's quite likely that you're breaking the license by doing this. If it does activate, it would be fairest to erase it off the old computer.

This is, by the way, why retail copies cost so much more: they can moved from machine to machine, as long as you use them on only one at a time.
posted by Malor at 9:34 PM on September 8, 2008

If 120 days have passed since activation, you can legitimately install XP onto an entirely different machine.
posted by jozxyqk at 3:27 AM on September 9, 2008

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